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Food stamp benefits for Maryland recipients to be distributed all at once in March after government shutdown

Maryland families who receive food stamps will receive next month’s benefits on March 6.

The state Department of Human Services will provide benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to all families at once, rather than on the typical staggered schedule.

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Benefits are usually dispersed between the first and 24th of each month, but the schedule is being altered after the partial government shutdown from the standoff between Congress and President Donald Trump over money for a border wall. The two sides reached an agreement to reopen the government in January and averted a second shutdown earlier this month.

February benefits had been distributed earlier than usual during the shutdown. Therefore, distributing the benefits all at once in March will cut down on the time some families will have to wait to buy food.

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“Our goal is to provide some certainty and relief to vulnerable Marylanders during this unpredictable time,” agency secretary Lourdes Padilla said in a statement. “Changing the distribution date to March 6 and issuing all the [food stamp] benefits on the same day reduces the time recipients must wait for funds to purchase food in Maryland.”

More than 650,000 people in Maryland receive about $75 million in benefits during an average month.

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